LVPEI Hosts the Biggest IAPB General Assembly
The 9th General Assembly (9GA) of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), organized in conjunction with L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), was held at Hyderabad from 17-20 September 2012. The premier event in global eye health, the Assembly's theme was "Eye Health: Everyone's Business", addressing a key public health challenge — the elimination of avoidable blindness and access to eye health services for all. Inaugurated by former President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, it was the biggest ever IAPB meeting with almost 1600 delegates from 87 countries, over 50 symposia, sessions and courses, 120 eminent invited speakers and more than 400 paper and poster presentations.

IAPB comprises 120 member organizations, including virtually every major international eye health NGO, as well as the global apex bodies for optometry and ophthalmology, disabled persons' organizations, academic institutions and concerned corporations. All the members work together to eliminate avoidable blindness and vision impairment worldwide. (More on
IAPB Awards conferred for exceptional service to prevention of blindness globally and regionally:
  • Lifetime Achievement Award − Mr Christian G Garms, President and Chairman of the Board, IAPB
  • Global Achievement Award − Dr Gullapalli N Rao, Chair, LVPEI
  • Global Partnership Award − Merck & Co. Inc.
Eye Health Hero: Mr V Rajashekar, Assistant Director and Head of LVPEI's Village Vision Complex (VVC), was among the 15 Eye Health Heroes felicitated by the Assembly, in recognition of front line staff whose exemplary work in the field and engagement in the community helps restore sight all around the globe. Mr Rajashekar manages the operations of the VVC, which has served more than 700,000 outpatients and 85,000 surgical patients to date.
The Right to Eye Health: Hyderabad Declaration: At the end of the meeting, the 9th General Assembly requested international organisations, regional entities, governments, civil society and the private sector to work together in addressing these key issues:
  • Eye Health must be addressed as part of primary health care and health systems.
  • An Inclusive International Development Framework is required to address blindness and visual impairment adequately.
  • Investments in Eye Health Structures, Human Resources and Initiatives are imperative to achieve access to eye health for all.
  • Investment in eye health and blindness prevention yields economic, health and social benefits.
  • Research is essential to address emerging eye health priorities and for learning effective approaches.
  • Building and broadening alliances for effective work on eye health, visual impairment and blindness.
  • Support for WHO Global Action Plan 2014-2019
Emails from IAPB luminaries to Dr Gullapalli N Rao
"Thanks again for setting up our tour. It was a great experience! What you have built is amazing. The concepts (pyramid) and planning are brilliant, the buildings and infrastructure are outstanding, but I always say "It is really about the people," and the team you have developed is superb. I am inspired."

Bill Felch, CEO, International Council of Ophthalmology
(after his visit to Thoodukurthy and LVPEI Vision Centres)

"I do not think the 9GA could possibly have been better. It is down to you and your team at LVPEI that everything was possible and why I think all the 1600 delegates found it such an outstanding success. I heard not one single complaint! Thank you for your leadership, vision and support."

Peter Ackland
Chief Executive Officer, IAPB

29 Optometry Graduates Begin their Careers
The graduation ceremony of the 2011–2012 batch of optometry fellows was conducted on 28 August 2012. The diverse group, including 2 from Ghana and 27 from across India, completed their clinical training in optometric and ophthalmic subspecialties, acquiring experience in handling patients and diagnostic tests related to patient care. The group was special for several reasons. First, it was our silver jubilee batch and, as a testimony to our world-class training, every fellow's performance was exemplary. Second, the fellows were trained under a new model of evaluation that maps each person's growth on a monthly basis and rewards good performance by offering them an opportunity to attend graduate level courses conducted by our research optometry faculty. Eight fellows attended these classes, along with the Bachelor of Science (BS) optometry interns from the Bausch & Lomb School of Optometry.
At the program, Dr Shrikant Bharadwaj, Associate Director of Optometry, summarized the fellowship program. Dr G Chandra Sekhar, Director, Kallam Anji Reddy campus, presented certificates to the fellows. Dr Prashant Garg, Director of Education, wished them the best for a successful career. Mr Srikanth Dumpati was the Master of Ceremonies.

Eye Donation Fortnight Activities
To commemorate 27th National Eye Donation Fortnight (25 August – 8 September 2012), the Ramayamma International Eye Bank (RIEB) organized eye donation awareness programs for educating various groups of people. They included: students of Koti Women's College, the staff of Abids Post Office, staff and students of the Nursing College of NIMS, associates of Salesforce, nurses and nursing students of Mahavir and Gandhi Hospitals, teachers of Sacred Heart School, and residents of Rasoolpura and the Operation Eyesight Universal project in Fatehnagar.
Live phone-in TV programs were anchored by Ms Brinda Ramachandran and Mr Kishan Reddy on DD Sapthagiri and Bol Radio, University of Hyderabad.

RIEB and Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) launched an initiative, "Vision to All – BHEL's Call" to spell out myths, facts and the need for eye donation, and propagate the message of "Gift of Sight".

RIEB organized a one-day refresher training for 25 eye bank technicians from 19 eye donation centres. The program focused on standard procedures for aseptic techniques in the recovery, documentation and packaging of donor eyes. The eye donation centers were felicitated for their efforts to eliminate corneal blindness.
Parents Support Group meeting
The Kode Venkatadri Chowdary campus at Vijayawada conducted a parents' support group meeting on childhood cataract on 25 August 2012, with almost 100 people from 34 families participating. The program sought to make parents aware that their active involvement was crucial for the proper development of the child. Without their constant support, even a good surgery can be functionally ineffective. The following comment from a mother showed that the meeting served its purpose to some extent: "Our first child passed away in an accident 4 years ago. Last year, when we learnt that our second child has cataract and needs an operation, we were shattered. We used to pity ourselves, thinking how unlucky we were. But today I saw so many families with the same problem; in fact, we are better than many of them! This has given me a lot of strength."
Progressive Lens Workshop
A workshop on "Varilux Academy Asia Pacific Education Program on Progressive Addition Lenses Dispensing" was conducted by Essilor on 9 September 2012, with optometry students, interns and senior optometrists participating. Discussions and interactive sessions focused on troubleshooting for progressive lenses.

Carl Zeiss Team Visits
Mr Ludwin Monz, Carl Zeiss Meditec, Germany, and Mr Srinivasan Vaidyanathan, Carl Zeiss Bangalore, visited the campus on 29 August 2012. Dr Taraprasad Das, Director, Bhubaneswar campus, spoke of the progress so far and the road map for the future.
Mr GM Rao, major supporter for GMR Varalakshmi Campus, Visakhapatnam, visited LVPEI on 8 September 2012. Mr Sam Balasundaram presented him with the institute's Silver Jubilee commemorative book and annual report.
Dr Gullapalli N Rao, Chair, LVPEI, conferred the IAPB Global Achievement Award for exceptional service to prevention of blindness globally and regionally.

Taraprasad Das elected Regional Chair, South East Asia region, International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB)
Kaustubh Mulay awarded the 'Ganne Subbalaxmi Endowment Award for Young Scientist' for his paper at the 30th Indian Association of Pathologists and Microbiologists - AP Chapter conference, Visakhapatnam, October 7-9, 2012. Coinvestigators: Dr PM Fairooz, Dr Santosh Honavar, Dr M Hasnat Ali, Dr Javed Ali and Dr Vijay Anand Reddy.

Mudit Tyagi and co-authors Dr Rajeev R Pappuru, Dr Vivek Dave and Dr Divya Balakrishnan won the 3rd prize for his video at EURETINA 2012 at Milan in September 2012.
Shrikant Bharadwaj received the Australian Leadership Awards Fellowship from the Australian Government (AusAid) to attend a 3-week workshop in Sydney, Australia, from the Brien Holden Vision Institute Foundation.

1st anniversary of Gudavalli centre
The first anniversary of LVPEI's 10th secondary centre, Dr Kommareddy Raja Ram Mohan Rao Eye Centre in Gudavalli village of Cherukupalli mandal, Guntur district, was
celebrated on 24 August 2012. Dr Padmaja K Rani, Mr Babu Rao and Mr S a s i d h a r attended the celebrations.
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